Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world, ahead of Christine Lagard and Kamala Harris, went far beyond the Forty Shades of Green. Being the woman she is, she stuck with her style but went all out on the variations. For all colours. For Pantone.

Pantone is the company that developed the Pantone Matching System, allocating numbers to colours, a reference for everybody who works with colours.

They just revealed their colour(s) of the year 2021:
Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

“Two extremely independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express this message of strength and hopefulness,” said Pantone VP Laurie Pressman.

If you are curious about how colours work you might be interested in ‘A Cultural History of Colour: The Modern Age’ by Sarah Street and Anders Steinvall.

There is a chapter in there, ‘Colour Power & Identity’, that “explores some of the ways that colour is used as a form of code intended to convey meaning linked to identity, persona, presence and power within a broader lexicon of visually-based signifiers.”

Are you feeling blue from time to time? Or do you sometimes see red? Feel yellow mellow? Do you see things in either black or white? Or do you see shades of grey? Are you all for going green? Can you see a silver lining? Do you love white mountains high? The dark blue sea? Some car insurance companies apparently charge more for red cars. Some people swear that violet is good for migraine. Therapists use green to relax clients suffering from anxiety.

I have no pictures of Pádraig this week. He has been doing his thing. And in a really brilliant way. I often wonder how he does this. He keeps going, surprises everybody with his wit, his humour, his incredible determination, his endless patience with the people around him.

How does he do it?

Why have I never asked him? Not necessarily and only to get the answer, satisfy my curiosity. But to let him know that I notice, every day, his strength and calm fighting spirit. Pure Zen.

He seems to have found the impossible: a way to live with this incredibly humongous change in his life. There are many moments, there are times, when that change must be nearly impossible to grasp, I am sure. But overall, he has found the balance I am struggling to find.

Christmas is just around the corner. Things will slow down even more. We’ll take days off. We’ll have lie-ins. We won’t have to get up at what often feels like the middle of the night to be somewhere at a certain time.

It’ll be a time when there is less pressure. Less heat. In anything we’ll do, or see, or experience. And then the nights will again be getting shorter and the days longer.

I wonder whether he’ll remember the time when he was in the hospital. He was in the hospital and we stayed at the Atlantic on Christmas Day, my favourite place in Hamburg. We went up the elevator to go to bed and shared the lift with Udo Lindenberg and his partner. We left him a copy of the ‘Dreamboat’ CD at the reception the next day. Pádraig didn’t see any of this. Though one winter, we went back with him to the Atlantic to show him another side of Hamburg.

There are always two sides to everything. The grey side and the yellow side. Not just in the COVID year. We don’t always see the bright side. But it’s always there. And what is more: we can choose to walk on the bright side of the street, out of the shadows. We don’t have to be at the dark end of the street, hiding. We can get from that dark end of the street to the bright side of the road.

You probably know Dido’s great song, White Flag. White is, of course, the colour of surrender. Her point is that she won’t.

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

I am all with Dido on this one.